As a hiring manager, you understand just how important an interview is to the entire recruiting process. The right questions can give you insight into an applicant’s personality and the sort of employee he/she might be. Hiring the right-fit candidate from the beginning can also help you reduce turnover and improve overall retention.

Having a collection of standard yet reliable interview questions can make your responsibilities as hiring manager less overwhelming and make it easier to identify the next great addition to your workforce. Continue reading for a list of essential questions to ask during a job interview.

1. Are you available to work weekends or late night? Asking an applicant about their availability to work various shifts can give you a clue into their flexibility. An applicant willing to work at different shifts can help you save time and make scheduling easier overall.

2. What do you see yourself in five years? This may seem like an intense interview question, but the answer you receive can give you some insight into an applicant’s commitment level to a position. Whether it’s six months or the beginning of a new career, you can be adequately prepared to make the most of the time you have with your potential employee.

3. Can you describe a situation where you resolved a conflict at your last job? An essential part of a great workforce means finding employees who can work together as a team. Discovering how an applicant has dealt with conflict in the past, including instances with fellow employees and customers, can help you build your dream team from the very beginning of the hiring process.

4. Why did you leave your last job? Maybe the applicant left their last job because they wanted a position with more advancement opportunity or perhaps they had a very vocal disagreement with their previous boss. No matter what the answer is, you can get a better idea of the applicant’s personality and whether or not it’s a fit for your workplace. 

5. What made you apply for this position? The last thing you want for an employee is a warm body waiting to get a paycheck. Learning more about why the applicant was drawn to the position can help you gauge their interest and the energy they will bring to the job.

6. What do you consider your biggest strength/weakness? An interview classic, this question gives the applicant the chance to show off their self-evaluation skills. Be wary of anyone who delivers a cookie cutter response such as, “my biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.” Give the applicant time to answer the question and provide an honest, carefully considered response. Someone aware of their personal strengths and weakness could also indicate a potential leader for your team.

So the next time you’re preparing for an interview, remember to bring this list of questions with you. You never know, a few basic questions could help you identify your next great employee. Happy hiring!